The Bridge at Drauffelt

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Richard B.
Posts: 1104
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 06:54

The Bridge at Drauffelt

Post by Richard B. »

The Bridge at Drauffelt

This is a re-write of a scenario I wrote way back which was published in The Journal of the SOTCW (Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers) issue 51 (winter 2004/05). It is a fictional tabletop action set during the early days of the German Ardennes offensive in December 1944.

History
With all the units thrown at the American lines on December 16th/17th surprisingly the first German troops to reach the Clerve River were actually the Volksgrenadiers of 1st Battalion, 77th Grenadier Regiment (26th Volksgrenadier Division). They moved between Hosingen and Marnach to arrive at the stone bridge over the Clerve near the village of Drauffelt. They found the bridge intact and unguarded and by December 18th, German armour was freely moving over the bridge.

Scenario Background
It is December 16th 1944, yesterday this was a quiet sector where your division (US 28th Infantry) had been placed to rest and recover from the bloody battles of the Huertgen Forest.

Today all that seems far away, in the early hours of this morning all along the front enemy artillery has smashed down on your outposts! Communications are confused and garbled - German attacks, units cut off needed help and ammunition....

You are a captain part of the divisional supply column based at Wiltz. At 2230 you were summoned to divisional HQ and ordered to assume command of an ad-hoc task force and move to the village of Drauffelt on the Clerve River and secure the stone road bridge there. You force is to dig in and await the arrival of engineers from the 44th Combat Engineer Battalion who are also being dispatched with orders to demolish it. This mission is vital to the division's defensive scheme as preventing the enemy from gaining the solid stone bridge would delay their advance.

After organising your men and equipment you small force set off into the night along the dark winding country roads. You finally arrive at the village at 0330 (December 17th) and set about organising your defences. To your surprise you find the village occupied by the supply and repair elements of the 707th Tank Battalion, you immediately (with the aid of your trusty 1st Sergeant) assume command of these men and add them to your command.

Initial contact
It is now 1400 all morning the sounds of heavy fighting have been rolling down from the hills to the north of your position. You knew from the radio net that 2nd Battalion 110th Infantry were to mount at counter-attack to reinforce the regiment`s forward positions along what is known as "Skyline Drive" - the road which runs north-south across the front. So you were not unduly worried, there has been a steady flow of civilian refugee traffic fleeing westward across the bridge too.

Suddenly one of your lookouts spots something approaching from the east. Through your binoculars you can make out men on bicycles! You order your men to stand too, this is it the Germans are here!


American defenders

Team Claydon
HQ
CO, NCO, RTO, runner
1st platoon
10 men inc .30cal MMG
2nd platoon
6 men inc BAR
MPs
4 carbine armed MPs
Support
57mm AT + 4 crew
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Elements 707th tank battalion
2 x 7man platoons (small arms only)
Disabled M4 Sherman (6 rds of AP, 4 rds of HE, hull MG) This tank has a blown transmission but can be placed and a pillbox
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Reinforcements turn16
Elements CCR 9th Armoured Division
M5 lt tank
Armd infantry platoon in halftrack w/.50cal
10 men (BAR, Bazooka)
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German attackers

Elements of I Battalion 77th Grenadier Regiment
2 x 10 man platoons (each with a LMG and a Panzerfaust) mounted on bicycles
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6 turns after the initial contact

1 x platoon (as above)
Kompanie HQ with: CO, driver, RTO in Kubelwagon (with radio)
80mm mortar team in lt truck
2 x M/C combs

Once one table the CO can call fire support from battalion IG75s
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6 turns later

No2 Kompanie I Battalion, 77th Grenadier Regiment
HQ (CO, NCO, 3 x runners, Panzerschreck team)
3 platoons of 10 men (LMG & Panzerfaust each)
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6 turns later
M/C recce platoon (26 VG HQ)
10 men (2 x LMG, 1 Panzerfaust)
1 Pioneer platoon (in lt truck)
10 men (Flamethrower, demo charge)
Stug III (from 26th Division A/T company)
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Table
Looking towards Drauffelt
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Drauffelt Bridge
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Allied side of the river Clerve
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Draufelt village HQ of 707th Tank Battalion
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The Americans dug in west of the river, emplacing the 57mm on the right of the road and their .30cal in the ruined cottage with infantry covering both weapons. The MPs were dug in further back as a fallback. The 707th personnel were deployed within Drauffelt, the M4 was towed to the edge of the village where it could cover the bridge.
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Turn 1-4
The German cyclists advance on the bridge where they dismounted to cross when they come under fire from the .30cal and suffer a couple of casualties.
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Turns 5-6
The two platoons spread out, their LMGs returned fire against the .30cal, the US 57mm fired HE over open sights against the spread out Germans!
Some lucky rolling sees the .30cal team knocked out
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Turn 7
sees the second German wave arrive on table.
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The initial platoons seeing the .30cal silenced try and cross the bridge. They come under intense rifle fire and the 57mm fires at point blank range also causing casualties and forces them back!
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Turn 8-9
The second German wave arrives at the bridge, the Kompanie CO takes charge ordering the mortar and calling in 75IG fire onto known US positions.
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Over the next few turns mortar and 75IG fire plus infantry LMGs paced the US positions.
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Turn 12-13
One group of Germans cross the bridge whilst more ford the river
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The first men reaching the west side of the bridge caught a 75mm round from the Sherman
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Turn 12 also saw the arrival of the German 3rd wave
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Turn 14-16
The Germans cross the river and occupy the ruin cottage and over-run the 57mm position. The Kompanie CO organises the crossing, bringing forward the mortar to the bridge to cover this advance.
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Turn 16 sees the arrival of the 10th Armoured recce unit
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Turn 16 also sees the 2nd German company reach the bridge
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The M4 uses its limited 75mm ammo to blast the ruined cottage
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Turn 17 sees the US recce unit advance towards the bridge to support what was left of their infantry. The M5 uses its 37mm and Brownings to blast the ruined cottage whilst the armoured infantry deploy and move forward.
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Turn 18 the M5 is targeted by the mortar and 75IG so moves off the road to its left.
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The German platoon commander pops up and deals with the M5 with a Panzerfaust!
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Turn 18 also sees the latest German reinforcements arriving on table
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Turns 19-20
The US armd infantry spread out to the left of the road, they begin a protracted duel with elements of the first German company
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Behind them in the village the tank crew/repair personnel prepare to defend their billet
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Whilst the second German company crosses the bridge
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Turns 21-23
Mortar and IG fire eventually eliminates the armd infantry and a flanking move down the right (the US left) led by the German 1st company commander catches the MPs and remains of the infantry exposed and drives them from their positions. Only the halftrack driver manning his vehicle .50cal and the Sherman`s hull MG prevents the German 2nd company causing a complete route!
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Turns 24-25
The Germans call up their Stug III which exchanges a couple of shots with the Sherman and opens the road to further advance. With the loss of the Sherman, the US morale breaks, everyman for himself.......
"“Sir with the compliments of my officer, your shooting was excellent – you killed four of our men”!
Un-named Traillieur to an artillery officer at R`Fakah, Morocco, Feb. 29th, 1908
billk
Posts: 127
Joined: 01 Dec 2020, 00:33

Re: The Bridge at Drauffelt

Post by billk »

Stellar!
dadlamassu
Posts: 312
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 07:13
Location: Bonnie Scotland
Contact:

Re: The Bridge at Drauffelt

Post by dadlamassu »

Outstanding stuff! That is the sort of game that I like - imagination, lesser known units and a lot of fun.
Thanks for posting.
Richard B.
Posts: 1104
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 06:54

Re: The Bridge at Drauffelt

Post by Richard B. »

Cheers guys comments much appreciated :D
"“Sir with the compliments of my officer, your shooting was excellent – you killed four of our men”!
Un-named Traillieur to an artillery officer at R`Fakah, Morocco, Feb. 29th, 1908
David Reasoner
Posts: 230
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 07:18

Re: The Bridge at Drauffelt

Post by David Reasoner »

Great game, Richard! Although your recent post on building a U.S. MP unit for it somehow left me with the impression that Skorzeny or the Einheit Stielau commando would likely be involved. :lol:

David
Richard B.
Posts: 1104
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 06:54

Re: The Bridge at Drauffelt

Post by Richard B. »

David Reasoner wrote: 28 Apr 2021, 19:57 Great game, Richard! Although your recent post on building a U.S. MP unit for it somehow left me with the impression that Skorzeny or the Einheit Stielau commando would likely be involved. :lol:

David
Ha, ha :lol:

Grief kommandos are something for another day (when i have opponents) :D

It was nice to re-run an old scenario, in fact i plan to run another next month.
"“Sir with the compliments of my officer, your shooting was excellent – you killed four of our men”!
Un-named Traillieur to an artillery officer at R`Fakah, Morocco, Feb. 29th, 1908
CarlL
Posts: 1312
Joined: 25 Mar 2013, 20:53

Re: The Bridge at Drauffelt

Post by CarlL »

Great fun Richard.
Another lovely wargames table. And great photos.
Your home made explosion markers worked really well in some of those photos!!
CarlL
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